Pet Talk
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Pet Talk

April 28, 2021

In this week’s Pet Talk, Maneka gives tips on handling new-born pups and breeding dogs

By Maneka Gandhi

How long do you have to wait to touch puppies after they are born?

 You can touch new-born puppies. However, you should never be careless. Make sure you are handling the puppy correctly so as not to harm it. The first thing to keep in mind is that your hands should not be cold. You can touch new-born puppies with your bare hands, but make sure you have washed your hands properly and that they are at body temperature. Of course, if you want to play it safe, you can wear gloves. 

To hold a new-born puppy, it is more common to run your hand under its belly, keeping one or two fingers between its front legs to cradle it. This is the position    normally used when bottle feeding orphaned puppies. If you simply want to pet the puppies, it is best to wait until they are three weeks old. The mother dog is usually capable of taking care of all the puppies’ needs in the first weeks, and you shouldn’t interfere. Once the puppies are about three weeks old, they will begin to move around on their own. This is when you can begin to pet them and interact with them more.

Is it safe if my dog has eaten his faeces? 

Dogs eating their own faeces is a relatively common phenomenon. Eating their own poop is harmless, but consuming the faeces of other animals may cause health problems, as the stool might be contaminated with parasites, viruses, or toxins. Eating faeces can also be an instinctive solution to a nutritional deficiency. Some other causes can be parasites, malabsorption syndromes, diabetes, Cushing’s, thyroid disease, and other conditions that might cause an increase in appetite, drugs, such as steroids. In many cases, dogs start to eat their own faeces because of some kind of environmental stress or behavioural triggers. 

Studies have shown that dogs who are kept alone in kennels or basements are more likely to eat faeces than those dogs who live close to their people. Spending too much time confined in a small space can cause the problem. Then again, your dog may just be curious. It may smell certain scents in the faeces and wonder what it tastes like. It’s not unusual to see coprophagia in dogs rescued from crowded shelters. Dogs might eat their own faeces to get a reaction from their humans. So, if you see your dog doing this, don’t overreact. Dogs, who are fed in proximity to their faeces, may make a connection between the odours of food and those of faeces and will be unable to tell the difference. 


Why is my puppy feeling discomfort and pressing his head on the wall and sofas?

 If you notice your dog pressing his head against the wall, or another firm object, there’s a need for your immediate attention. Head pressing is a common sign of numerous serious problems, such as toxic poisoning or brain disease. Make an appointment with your dog’s vet right away.

How do you know if a new-born puppy is dying?

The common findings of a dying puppy are a low birth weight, or failure to gain weight at the same rate as their siblings, decreased activity, and inability to suckle. These puppies have a tendency to remain separate from the mother and the rest of the litter. They are unable to regulate body temperature and prone to dehydration. They are often reported to cry weakly in a high-pitched tone. These puppies often quickly progress to severe lethargy, loss of muscle tone, and death. 

Can two different breeds of dogs be bred together?

Yes, dogs of different species can be interbred. Crossbred dogs can be just as loving and friendly as any pure breed, so it depends on whether or not you agree with the principles behind its practice. The combination of two separate dogs could potentially lead to serious genetic entanglement issues; it could work out brilliantly, but also terribly. 

Predicting the size of a puppy is much more difficult in dogs that have been crossbred. If two breeds of differing sizes are combined, it will be anyone’s guess as to how big or small the puppies will turn out to be. Not knowing the size of the litter can lead to potential difficulties when it comes to delivering them. If the puppies are too big for a dog to give birth to, this could lead to an emergency C- section being required, which may lead to other complications. Interbreeding might cause a number of genetic problems, joint issues, inherited blindness etc.

How to use a thermometer on dogs?

 There are two popular types of thermometers: digital and rectal. Digital thermometers are inserted into the ear canal and rectal thermometers are inserted, as the name implies, into the rectum. 

For rectal technique: Shake down the thermometer. Lubricate the tip with petroleum jelly to ease insertion. For small dogs and cats, the thermometer should be advanced slowly, about an inch. For larger dogs, insert the thermometer about 2-3 inches into the rectum. Hang on to the end of the thermometer to steady it and make retraction easier. If you feel stool in the rectum, try to place thermometer around it rather than through faecal matter. Leave the thermometer in place for two minutes. Remove the thermometer and wipe it clean with a tissue prior to reading. If the pet clamps down his anal sphincter, do not force the thermometer into the rectum, to avoid injury and pain for the pet.

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For digital technique: Turn the thermometer on and allow it to calibrate. Many digital thermometers will beep when calibrated and beep again when ready to read. No lubrication is needed prior to inserting the thermometer into the ear canal. Insert the thermometer gently into the horizontal ear canal by holding it at a 90 degree angle with the pet’s head. If your pet resists, do not force the device into the ear canal. An infected ear is sore, and inserting a thermometer will be painful. Besides, using an ear thermometer, on a dog or cat with an ear infection, will produce inaccurate readings.

Then, add one degree to the thermometer’s reading to get a general idea of your dog’s body temperature.

What is the correct way to check the temperature of dogs? 

Best way to measure a temperature of a dog is through rectal thermometer. Another way is taking the temperature with a help of thermometer by placing it in the ear canal or the armpit of the dog too. If your dog is not as energetic as usual, there may be something wrong. It may seem sad or depressed. It may sleep for longer than usual or refuse to play. This could be a sign of either a high or low temperature. Examine the dog’s eyes and gums for redness. Normal healthy gums should look light pink. A dog with a fever may have dark, red gums. You cannot gauge a dog’s body temperature by touch. A warm or dry nose does not necessarily indicate a fever or any other health problem. 

Do different dogs have different body temperatures?

 Yes, different dogs have different temperatures. Smaller dogs tend to have a higher body temperature than larger dogs. Even the temperature of each individual dog fluctuates.

Are some dogs actually dangerous?

 No dog is inherently more dangerous than another. Any dog can be aggressive depending on how it is treated. The public is misled to believe that one breed is dangerous than the other breed. It just depends how well the owner has brought up a dog, has it been loved and taken care of, or has it been neglected and abused, or deliberately trained to be mean.


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